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Explaining and apologizing to patients after errors does not increase lawsuits, finds study

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 03 October 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4536
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

Explaining and apologizing to patients after a medical error has resulted in injury does not result in an increase in lawsuits, a large US study has reported.1

In the face of growing numbers of lawsuits, many US hospitals have introduced “communication and resolution” programs over the past few years. In these programs hospitals communicate with patients when adverse events have occurred, investigate and explain what happened, apologize where appropriate, and offer compensation where failure to follow standard procedures led to significant harm.

The study analyzed the documentation and outcomes for …

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